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How Does Surgery Affect Sexual Desire and Activities in Patients With Lumbar Disc Herniation?

Kanayama, Masahiro, MD; Horio, Michiko, RN; Umi, Yumi, RN; Yamaguchi, Ai, RN; Omata, Junichi, PT; Togawa, Daisuke, MD; Hashimoto, Tomoyuki, MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ba29f9
Clinical Case Series
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Study Design. A retrospective survey using privacy-conscious questionnaires.

Objective. To determine the quality and frequency of sexual activities in patients with lumbar disc herniation before and after surgery.

Summary of Background Data. Patients and health care professionals often hesitate to talk about the effects of disease, illness, or surgery on sexuality, but it is imperative that sexuality issues be addressed.

Methods. Of 90 consecutive patients, 64 who had surgically-treated lumbar disc herniation participated in this survey after informed consent. There were 43 males and 21 females with mean age of 36 years. Duration of symptom was averaged 42 weeks. The patients were asked to complete questionnaires concerning sexual desire, activity, adjustment, and satisfaction. About 83% of the patients had sexual desire, and 89% achieved satisfaction during sexual activities in presick period.

Results. Lumbar disc herniation decreased sexual desire in 50% and frequency of sexual activity in 59% of the patients. About 67% of males and 81% of females felt discomfort during sexual activity; satisfaction decreased in 28% of male and 41% of females. Adjustment in sexual position was required in 54% of males and 86% of females. Surgery improved sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, and satisfaction in 85%, 88%, and 94%, respectively. However, 31% of females did not regain sexual desire and 46% still felt discomfort during sexual activity (the rates were 7% and 17% in males, respectively). Sexual activity was resumed within 2 postoperative weeks in 23% (27% in males and 14% in females), and 4 weeks in 53%. Males resumed sexual activity earlier than females.

Conclusion. Lumbar disc herniation largely impacted sexual desire, activity, and satisfaction. Adjustment in sexual position was required in large number of patients to avoid discomfort during sexual activities. Surgical treatment improved quality of sexual activities, but more females did not regain sexual desire, felt sexual discomfort, and thereby resumed sexual activities later than males after surgery.

A retrospective survey concerning sexual desire, activity, adjustment, and satisfaction was done for 64 patients who had surgically-treated lumbar disc herniation. Lumbar disc herniation largely impacted quality of sexual activities. Surgery improved sexualities, but more females did not regain sexual desire, felt discomfort, and resumed sexual activities later than males.

From the Spine Center, Hakodate Central General Hospital, Hokkaido, Japan.

Acknowledgment date: August 12, 2008. Revision date: June 11, 2009. Acceptance date: June 16, 2009.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Masahiro Kanayama, MD, Spine Center, Hakodate Central General Hospital, Hon-cho 33-2, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-8585, Japan; E-mail: mkanayama@aol.com

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.